The Perils of Worldbuilding: What Was I Thinking When I Named that Country?

I’ve been looking back over the countries I created for Ariadne, and I’ve come to a conclusion: either I was out of my mind when I named some of those countries or I can see the future.

stupid_namesSometimes, when naming fictional countries, we think, Oh, that sounds good.  Then go back to it fourteen years later, and I’m thinking What the f@$%????  I really have no idea what I was thinking when I made some of those names.  Of course, I’m going to keep the majority of them, as many were named after important people.  But a large number of them are totally made up words with no thought toward etymology. Considering the countries were mostly named within a couple hundred years of colonisation, I would assume that there wasn’t much in the way of language drift.  Maybe a thousand years later, I can have unusual sounding names for countries.

Let me give you a couple examples of country names I rediscovered as I look through the information I wrote out fourteen years ago.  First is a country called Caprica.  Not a bad name, to be honest, if it hadn’t been used by Battlestar Galactica and Caprica.  That’s going to have to change.  The other one just completely baffles me.  It’s Rihana.  Too close to Rihanna, if you ask me.  When I named the country, Rihanna was only 13 years old and not at all famous.  But I’m going to change it.

There are many others that just seem absolutely silly sounding to me now.  They’re going to change.  But I’ll tell you the names of the two original colony countries and their capital cities.  These are not changing, except the spelling of one.  The original colony site is the city of New Athens, in honour of Athens, of course.  It’s the seat of democracy, and that’s why it was chosen.  The country’s name is Colonia, though I will change that to Kolonia to reflect the Greek spelling of “colony.”  It also honours where the colonists come from, which is Hellas City in the Hellas Basin on Mars.  Hellas is the Greek name for Greece.  So, the colony is all Greek, at least in terms of names.

As for the second city and country, this is in honour of the leader of the Ariadne Project, Paolo Fernandes, who is a major character in Journey to Ariadne.  That country is named Amazonia with the capital New Brasilia.  He’s from Brazil.  He was also a dedicated environmentalist before leaving Earth to move to Mars.  He was working hard to save what was left of the Amazon.

So, that’s a little information about my worldbuilding (and character building) process.  I thought you’d be interested in seeing a little bit of what’s going on behind the scenes.

What’s coming in the future is a full list of all the countries on Ariadne, after I’ve gone through and determined the origins of the names, and rename quite a few of them.  I’ll be writing out physical geography for each one, and as the stories advance, I will be adding more information to each country as the world’s history advances.  Look for some of this to come soon.

Comments and questions are always welcome.

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The 2K International Writers’ Blog Tour – Sabina Khan

the2kinternationalwritersblogtourOnly a week to go in the blog tour! Here’s today’s interview.  The original posts are here and here.

Sabina Khan

sabina_khanSabina Khan is the author of Realm of the Goddess, the first in a series of YA Paranormal Fantasy books based on the gods and goddesses of India. She is an educational consultant and a karaoke enthusiast. After living in Germany, Bangladesh, Macao, Illinois and Texas, she has finally settled down in beautiful British Columbia, Canada, with her husband and three daughters, one of whom is a fur baby. She is passionate about the empowerment of girls and women, hoping to inspire them with the strong female characters in her novel.

What is the first piece you remember writing (from childhood or young adulthood)?

I think I must have been in Grade Three when I wrote a short story about two kids who found themselves transported to this magical world where giant golden raspberries hung from the trees and friendly giant snored on the fields.

What is your favorite aspect of being a writer? Your least favorite?

The fact that I can legitimately daydream and watch TV/movies and say it’s research. Also that I can watch people in public and imagine them as characters in my books, without wondering if I am slowly going insane. My least favorite aspect has to be the nailbiting moments when you wait to see if anyone will love it as much as you do.

Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, what is your best tip for beating it? If not, why not?

It has hit me over the head multiple times since I started writing, so yes I believe in writer’s block. It can be paralyzing and extremely humbling, but I find that giving yourself a good kick in the butt or better still having someone else around to do that for you can be a swift but effective remedy.

What is your current writing project? What is the most challenging aspect of your current writing project?

sabina_khan_bookCurrently I am working on Book Two of the Realm of the Goddess series. I would say that the most challenging aspect of this is to fill the reader in on what happened in the first book without going into it too much. It’s hard to find a balance sometimes.

What supports you in your writing?

I would have to say that the constant encouragement of my family and friends has kept me going. It’s important to have a cheering section in your corner, but equally essential to have people who keep you grounded. I feel very lucky to have both. Of course I also have a puppy who keeps my toes toasty while I’m writing.

What are you currently reading?

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker. Absolutely magical and mesmerizing.

Where can our readers find you and your books online?

Follow me on Twitter: @Sabina_Writer

and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RealmGoddess

Find out more at http://realmofthegoddess.wordpress.com/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Realm-Goddess-Sabina-Khan-ebook/dp/B00Q0OWI4G